If I reflect on the reason I joined Collingwood, it was about being able to offer my clients the best possible service. I have worked for some brilliant companies, but the model dictated that I was restricted in terms of how I could help my customers and the true value I could add.

One of my biggest frustrations and I suppose one of the main reasons I do what I do, is seeing organisations paying vast amounts of money for at best inconsistent service levels and subsequently inconsistent results. So, I thought it may be useful to write about what good looks like, what is available to you and what is reasonable to expect from the partner you select. To be clear, this isn’t me selling myself or Collingwood – its more a generic piece about talent, the good, the bad and the ugly!

First, I wanted to define “value”, a quick search shows the most relevant definition to be “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something”. I hear so many recruiters moaning that current and potential customers place so much importance on “cost” but the reality is that typically you aren’t looking for cheap, you are looking for value, and for the cost at the end of a process to reflect the amount of effort put in, and the long term value added with the hire and service.

So, putting price to one side and focusing on value, what should you really be getting for your investment?


Trust is so important, and its essential in building strong long-lasting relationships. So many organisations feel a “us and them” mentality when working with a recruitment partner and aren’t always confident that the decisions their partner makes are in the best interest of their business. The reality is you should have complete trust that your partner does the following;

  • Represents your organisation in the very best way to all potential candidates, delivering a consistent and strong message regarding your employer brand.
  • Acts with your best interests at heart always, with the aim of getting you the very best talent within your salary banding.
  • Gives you open and honest feedback and listens to feedback in return.
  • Understands your long-term talent strategy and acts to support that.


Commitment is in my experience essential and a central part of all successful partnerships. You deserve a partner who commits to filling your role with the markets best talent and isn’t focused on sending great candidates to as many organisations as possible. This will require commitment from you too but having a partner willing to go the extra mile will pay off with amazing talent filling your vacancies.


So many new customers we speak to have been through recruitment cycles, investing significant amounts of money and unfortunately seeing no return. The reality is that you should expect to see a return from your investment. Now what I am not saying is that every single role will be filled with a candidate matching the brief perfectly, the reality is that sometimes the market dictates that a search can and needs to change direction. But your partner should guide you to a solution and should be committed to working with you to a successful result every time.

Added value 

If you partner is truly that, they can add so much more value than just a bum on a seat. Not only should they be providing a consistent stream of high calibre talent, but also adding value by providing guidance and advice that informs future strategy. Here are some of the ways we provide value to our partners;

  • Market insight and intelligence.
  • Salary benchmarking.
  • Employer brand intelligence.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Talent acquisition strategy advice.

The areas discussed above aren’t the only things that dictate whether you are getting “value” from your partner, but they certainly provide a good starting point. By investing in a partner that provides value, acquiring great talent becomes an integral part of organisational strategy and culture. It honestly doesn’t need to be the frustrating and exhaustive process that so many organisations experience. Before searching for great talent, find a great partner…. One that adds real value.